"This shit is no joke," Mission Chinese Food's Danny Bowien warned yesterday as he set down a plate of kung pao corned beef ($11) on day one of MCF's new BBQ menu. Corned beef? To paraphrase Spinal Tap's David St. Hubbins, was this crossing the line between stupid and clever?
Bowien lays Robert's corned beef briskets in his new toy, a smoker passed down from Ryan Ostler of Bruno's and Broken Record fame. After a 12-hour stint with apple, cherry, and hickory woods, the corned beef basically transforms into pastrami. It's then sliced, doused with a sauce containing minced Sichuan chiles and fried shallots, and tossed in a wok with peanuts, celery, potatoes, and dozens of "explosive" chile peppers (Bowien's never been shy about his love for Spices! in the Inner Richmond).
Kung pao can be so spicy that the protein becomes insignificant, but the corned beef/pastrami came through here, especially its deep smokiness, under the tingly pepper buzz. Verdict: clever.
Mission Chinese Food: 2234 Mission (at 17th St.), 863-2800.